Happy 18th Birthday eBay!

It nearly passed me by but I noticed at the weekend Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay, was tweeting about how he created eBay 18 years ago on the Labor Day weekend holiday stateside. He said: “18 years ago this weekend I was not sleeping much and writing a lot of code for a new website. Now that it’s turned 18, I wonder if it’s time to kick it out of the house?”

It seems astonishing that it’s bee so long. My own association with eBay (including 7 years on the staff) is about 14 years now (a decent chunk of my life) and even Tamebay will be 7 years old in November this year. It’s also notable that it’s here at all. It’s one of a small group of 1990s web survivors that have managed to prosper as things have rapidly changed and even surprised the web bubble bursting way back when. There really aren’t many comparable companies of eBay’s vintage with such a clear purpose.

It’s also worth noting that eBay is in rude good health once more after a few ropey years in the noughties when it wasn’t doing well, suffered something of an identity crisis and didn’t have a clear vision. The current team at the helm have done a good job of clarifying what eBay is and for, and I’d say the company has found its mojo once more. Of course, events have helped. The explosion of mobile web usage and the smartphone revolution has been very good for eBay these past few years.

And then there’s Paypal. It’s the other real driver of eBay Inc.’s success in 2013. For years it has been driving on and off eBay adoption hard and reaping rewards. But it’s only recently that significant innovation and service improvements have started to come through.

Finally, in the UK, withdrawing Paypal funds is instant (or near as damn it) and also PayPal Check In and PayPal Here have debuted. All this is an impressive leap forward for the PayPal product and I suspect that we’ll see more soon.

I know we all like a grumble every now and again (or all the time for some of you) but eBay has changed my life and I’m sure it’s changed yours too, even just a little bit. So Happy Birthday eBay!